Since developing a yoga practice in which I have noticed countless benefits for my body and mind, and then training as a yoga teacher so that I could share this with others, I sometimes forget the mystery that yoga holds for people. So for those who might be wondering if yoga is for them, and for those already practicing, I wanted to share some of the many benefits that yoga offers for the body and mind.
1. It is accessible
You don't need fancy yoga leggings or expensive studio passes in order to be able to practice yoga. It is just fine to wear clothes that you are comfortable in (pyjamas used to be a firm favourite of mine!), following along to a Youtube video on any non-slip surface. You can make your yoga as dynamic or relaxing as you like, and if you can't get down to ground then lots of poses, or asanas, can be practiced whilst seated. Simple breathing exercises can be practiced anywhere, and lots of gentle movements can be practiced in bed in order to wind down for better sleep.
2. It can soothe stress/anxiety
Yoga can be a wonderful tool in helping reduce stress and soothe feelings of anxiety. By moving the body we can redirect the energy whirling in our minds around the body, and by relaxing into postures and focusing on our breath, we can start to switch on our parasympathetic nervous system (our 'rest and digest' system) which starts to lower the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, that we produce. This leads to a lowered heart rate and a reduction of our perceived stress levels.
3. It can help you sleep better
Once we lower our stress levels we usually start to see an improvement in our sleep patterns. Gentle yoga movements and breathing techniques (pranayama) can be a part of a soothing, winding-down routine in the evenings, preparing us for better sleep.
4. It is a wonderful form of exercise
I was never a sporty girl, and 9 times out of 10, I was the last one to be picked for any team games. But when I found yoga, I appreciated the non-competitive aspect of it. There is no one person doing yoga 'better' than anyone else, it is an entirely individual experience. You work against your own body weight, gradually and safely building strength.
5. You feel more at ease in your body
Regular practice of yoga will strength and lengthen the muscles, and increase mobility in the joints. You start to notice a sense of lightness and ease when moving about your daily activities, and notice less of the usual aches/pains. On other level, as we practice yoga we start to treat our bodies with more love and respect, and we may find that we feel more at ease with accepting ourselves and our bodies as they are, appreciating all that they do for us
6. Yoga is also for the mind
We often think about yoga as purely the physical movements of the body, but our practice of Yoga can be just as valid if we take 10 minutes to sit and practice meditation. Yoga translates as 'union', be this the union of the body and mind, or the union of ourselves with a higher consciousness. And as we practice Yoga, we start to notice the shift this produces in our minds and thinking - maybe we have more patience, feel a sense of wellbeing or experience more gratitude. In short, Yoga starts to make us feel like a better human and with a increased capacity to experience and savour life.
These are just a few reasons why I am passionate about Yoga and helping to spread its many benefits to others. I teach regular classes in Worthing, so if you fancy giving it a try and experiencing the benefits for yourself, then please contact me via my Contact page.
What benefits have you discovered from Yoga and what keeps you coming back it? Leave a comment below, I would love to know!
"The success of Yoga does not lie in ability to perform postures, but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships" ~ T.K.V Desikachar